Sunday, March 8, 2009

What is Fair Trade & why buy Fair Trade Certified™ products?

In short, “Fair Trade guarantees livable wages for farmers and their families, improving their opportunities for better healthcare, housing and education. By choosing this Fair Trade Certified™ tea, you are directly contributing to the livelihood of tea growing communities.”

We are excited to now offer a selection of Fair Trade Certified™ teas, which are also 100% Organic:
Green Twisted Spears
New Moon Darjeeling
Blue Mountain Nilgiri
Monkey-Picked White

Look for this label to the right in our loose leaf tea selection...
The Fair Trade Certified™ label allows you to know that these products were produced under socially, economically and environmentally sustainable conditions.

How it works
Farms apply to be certified as Fair Trade suppliers through a third party certifier. To qualify, they are required to pay their workers living wages, provide a safe and healthy working environment, prohibit forced child labor, and offer transparency in their books which are reviewed in annual audits. Tea vendors, such as ourselves, can then choose to buy their tea at a fair price which includes an additional fixed "social premium". The "social premium" goes back to the farming community to be invested in the social, environmental, or economic programs created to benefit the specific needs of that community. An additional fixed "administrative premium" gets paid to the 3rd party certifier, such as TransFair USA, to cover their costs of certifying and monitoring the tea farms & vendors to ensure that their standards are met.

Here is an example of how the Fair Trade program has benefited the community of the Seeyok Tea Estate, located in the Mirik Valley of Darjeeling... our New Moon Darjeeling tea. The Fair Trade price has enabled the workers at Seeyok Tea Estate, numbering over 480, to establish various social and productive programs.

Credit Program:
Seeyok Estate runs credit programs for members to fund expenses such as weddings and death ceremonies. Additionally, members began a cow loan and floriculture program, enabling additional household income.
Members have access to midwives and a pharmacist who provide care on the estate. Ambulance service to an off-site government hospital is also in place, and a program to distribute vaccines to children was enacted.
Home Improvements:
With Fair Trade revenue, gas connections, ovens, and pressure cookers were made available to households.

We're really looking forward to contributing to these types of social development projects enabled through the Fair Trade programs. Stay tuned to hear more...

You can take a look at all of our loose leaf teas here.

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